Social justice wizard, future library/archives/info mgt student. She/her.
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JavaScript Libraries Are Almost Never Updated Once Installed

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Cloudflare helps run CDNJS, a very popular way of including JavaScript and other frontend resources on web pages. With the CDNJS team’s permission we collect anonymized and aggregated data from CDNJS requests which we use to understand how people build on the Internet. Our analysis today is focused on one question: once installed on a site, do JavaScript libraries ever get updated?

Let’s consider jQuery, the most popular JavaScript library on Earth. This chart shows the number of requests made for a selected list of jQuery versions over the past 12 months:

We see a steady rise of version 3.4.1 following its release on May 2nd, 2019. What we don’t see is a substantial decline of old versions. Version 3.2.1 shows an average popularity of 36M requests at the beginning of our sample, and 29M at the end, a decline of approximately 20%. This aligns with a corpus of research which shows the average website lasts somewhere between two and four years. What we don’t see is a decline in our old versions which come close to the volume of growth of new versions when they’re released. In fact the release of 3.4.1, as popular as it quickly becomes, doesn’t change the trend of old version deprecation at all.

If you’re curious, the oldest version of jQuery CDNJS includes is 1.10.0, released on May 25, 2013. The project still gets an average of 100k requests per day, and the sites which use it are growing in popularity:


To confirm our theory, let’s consider another project, TweenMax:


As this package isn’t as popular as jQuery, the data has been smoothed with a one week trailing average to make it easier to identify trends.

Version 1.20.4 begins the year with 18M requests, and ends it with 14M, a decline of about 23%, again in alignment with the loss of websites on the Internet. The growth of 2.1.3 shows clear evidence that the release of a new version has almost no bearing on the popularity of old versions, the trend line for those older versions doesn’t change even as 2.1.3 grows to 29M requests per day.

One conclusion is whatever libraries you publish will exist on websites forever. The underlying web platform consequently must support aged conventions indefinitely if it is to continue supporting the full breadth of the web.

Cloudflare is very interested in how we can contribute to a web which is kept up-to-date. Please make suggestions in the comments below.

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claudinec
56 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Free Online Course “Introduction to Web Accessibility”

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Today, 3rd December 2019, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) are announcing a new online course “Introduction to Web Accessibility” scheduled to start on 28 January 2020.

This course provides a strong foundation for making websites and apps work well for people with disabilities, meet international standards, and enhance the user experience for all web users. It is designed for technical and non-technical audiences, including:

  • developers
  • designers
  • content authors
  • project managers
  • people with disabilities
  • others

Optional course material helps you learn more about the topics you are most interested in. It covers:

  • What is Web Accessibility (2 sections)
  • People and Digital Technology (5 sections)
  • Business Case and Benefits (2 sections)
  • Principles, Standards, and Checks (5 sections)
  • Getting Started with Accessibility (2 sections)

The course is designed for 4 weeks of about 4-5 hours effort per week. It is self-paced so you can complete it in a shorter or longer time frame.

The course is free. Optionally, you can choose to get a Verified Certificate for $99 USD to demonstrate successful course completion.

This unique course is based on the open curricula from the Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). It is part of the W3Cx training platform and brings together international expert trainers from Deque, Infoaxia, Intopia, Knowbility, The Paciello Group (TPG), and Web Key IT.

In addition to being an excellent introduction for people who are new to accessibility, this course helps people who already know about accessibility fill in gaps” said Shawn Henry, W3C WAI Outreach Coordinator. “It covers resources from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative website, and helps you know how to find addition information on multiple aspects of digital accessibility.”

Whether you are new to web accessibility or need a refresher, this course gives you the necessary skills to take first steps in accessibility and to know where to find more information – enroll now.

Logo of UNESCO IITE Logo of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Additional information:

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claudinec
102 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Domain overseer lifts all price caps on .Org domain names - Domain Name Wire

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ICANN ignores community input and agrees to lift price restrictions on .org domains.

Circular shapes with .org in them and mouse pointers. Green, blue and pink colors.

As many feared, the comment period was just a formality.

ICANN has agreed to remove price restrictions on .org domain names, letting the domain’s manager, Public Interest Registry, charge as much as it wants for the domains. (It also agreed to let .info manager Afilias charge whatever it wants for .info.)

This is despite only six out of over 3,000 comments being in favor of removing price caps.

You can blame two things: ICANN wanting to make its life easier with a misguided attempt to make its registry agreements similar, and regulatory capture.

ICANN’s decision foreshadows that the organization will agree to .com price increases. Eventually, caps on .com domains could disappear.

10 million .org domains are currently registered and were registered under a system in which Public Interest Registry could not increase prices at will. Now, non-profits and other organizations that have been using these domains for years could face steep price increases.

The good news is that Public Interest Registry’s management is competent and well-guided. They will likely wait a while before making any major changes to avoid comments of “we told you so”.

But management changes. Boards change. And one day, it could get ugly.

It will be interesting to see if any parties consider antitrust challenges.

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claudinec
139 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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The org that doles out .org websites just sold itself to a for-profit company

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Today, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), which maintains the .org top-level domain, announced that it will be acquired by Ethos Capital, a private equity firm (via Domain Name Wire). This move will make PIR, previously a non-profit domain registry, officially part of a for-profit company — which certainly seems at odds with what .org might represent to some. Originally, “.org” was an alternative to the “.com” that was earmarked for commercial entities, which lent itself to non-profit use.

That’s not all: On June 30th, ICANN, the non-profit that oversees all domain names on the internet, agreed to remove price caps on rates for .org domain names — which were previously pretty cheap. Seems like something a for-profit company might want.

Removing price caps wasn’t exactly a popular idea when it was first proposed on March 18th. According to Review Signal, only six of the more than 3,000 public comments on the proposal were in favor of the change.

In an “open letter” published on May 1st, just days after the comment period had closed, PIR said that it had “no specific plans for any price increases for .org.” But that was then, and if the rates for .org domains do go up in the future, it could affect non-profits and institutions that rely on low domain name fees to maintain their websites.

.info and .biz, which also used to have price caps, had them removed this year as well.

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claudinec
139 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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Machine Learning Captcha

2 Comments and 5 Shares
More likely: Click on all the pictures of people who appear disloyal to [name of company or government]
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claudinec
139 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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2 public comments
lousyd
138 days ago
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It's a trick. Don't do it!
Wilmington, NC, USA
fxer
139 days ago
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No pic of me kneeling in supplication to my blender?
Bend, Oregon

Non-binary "singular they" endorsed by Merriam-Webser

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"Singular 'they': Though singular 'they' is old, 'they' as a nonbinary proonoun is new — and useful", Merriam-Webster Words We're Watching:

Much has been written on they, and we aren't going to attempt to cover it here. We will note that they has been in consistent use as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; that the development of singular they mirrors the development of the singular you from the plural you, yet we don't complain that singular you is ungrammatical; and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular they in casual conversation and often in formal writing.

They is taking on a new use, however: as a pronoun of choice for someone who doesn't identify as either male or female. This is a different use than the traditional singular they, which is used to refer to a person whose gender isn't known or isn't important in the context, as in the example above. The new use of they is direct, and it is for a person whose gender is known, but who does not identify as male or female. If I were introducing a friend who preferred to use the pronoun they, I would say, "This is my friend, Jay. I met them at work."

M-W's action got a lot of  media play, mostly positive or neutral — e.g. "Merriam-Webster adds non-binary pronoun 'they' to dictionary" (WaPo), "When Dictionaries Wade Into the Gender (Non)Binary" (NYT), "Merriam-Webster dictionary adds 'they' as nonbinary pronoun" (The Guardian), "Merriam-Webster adds nonbinary 'they' pronoun to dictionary" (NBC), and so on.

Predictably, there were some negative reactions as well, e.g. "'Non-Binary' Nonsense" (The National Review), "The problem with calling Sam Smith 'they'" (The Spectator), "Merriam-Webster Redefines 'They' to Include a Non-Binary Person" (Christian Headlines), etc.

Let's note that the usual political philosophies tend to be inverted in this case — the rightward end of the political spectrum, generally opposed to regulation and in favor of market forces in economic matters, comes down squarely in favor of central planning and control in matters of usage, at least when bottom-up innovations are at issue. See "Authoritarian rationalism is not conservatism", 12/11/2007; "Peever politics", 11/20/2011; "James Kilpatrick, Linguistic Socialist", 3/28/2008; "Querkopf von Klubstick returns", 6/10/2008.

Another politico-linguistic puzzle is the fact that Quaker thee began as a similar sort of authoritarian rationalism — see "George Fox, Prescriptivist" (10/24/2010), and "That false and senseless Way of Speaking" (7/1/2016).

 

 

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bluebec
182 days ago
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Melbourne
claudinec
182 days ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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